Tuesday, February 12, 2019

In defense of Georges Najm

I am not here to debate or negate the contracts which appeared online in the weekend and which were circulated heavily about Noise and The Municipality of Beirut. But a certain name popped up which  normally is not known apart in advertising circles: Georges Kamil Najm.
In his capacity of Clementine and Noise shareholder (the former is co-owned with another shareholder, Claudine Aoun, the daughter of the current Lebanese president), suddenly his name got circulated and allegations of such and such were thrown on him.
My first meeting with Georges was in May 2015 (note to all idiotic conspiracy theorists, it was after the lawsuits were filed on me so there was zero connection between us as an "allied fronts" that some paranoid souls like to think). Yes, we immediately took to another another. He was kind, polite, shrewd but not dirty. Anyone who knows me, knows how economical I am in praising people.
Truth be told, we met exceptionally rarely. And his Whatsapp "will call you tonight" is met with a dismissive smirk on my part, he never does as he is always buried in work. But this is one thing I do respect about him - he has an acute business ethic. And this is not something I take lightly.
OK, let me ask you? When was the last time you called me at 9 P.M. trying to see if a campaign is ethical, or if it has a hint of plagiarism. See? Georges does that.
In 1997 when I was doing my military service an incident happened and one officer jumped and called it "wasta" (clientage), the general looked at him and said "teshil a3mel" (business facilitation). At the time I thought it was semantics, as I grew in my career I understood the difference. Should I be using this example, it is because I think of Georges' ambiguous position: On one hand he wants his company(ies) to go out of the Aounist shadow (his partner Chantal Aoun said so explicitly in a talk to ArabAd), and on the other hand grifters are willing and wanting to work with him through his agency to be closer to the presidential sphere.
Would you shun away new clients had they come knocking on your door?
Exactly what I thought.
Do note - In their early days, Clementine had no one harsher in their criticism than me. Their layouts were - at best - wonky, their ads had dubious ethical origins, and the list continues. Thankfully, order was restored due to a staff rearrangement and they tightened their screws.
Once more, I did not discuss this post or what appeared online in terms of contracts through the weekend with Georges or anyone else. Yet seeing Georges' ethics being subject to the court of public opinion from people who do not know him or his Modus Operandi was a little harsh for me to swallow.
Just to be clear, and this I say loudly and clearly:
Georges Najm is an incredibly ethical, hard working person. Anyone who disagrees will go through me first.